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WPD seeking 334MW of flexibility services in 'largest' ever tender

Image: Western Power Distribution.

Image: Western Power Distribution.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has announced a new tender for 334MW of demand response services across England and Wales, in what is the largest by any UK network operator, it says.

The services are required across a fifth of WPD’s network, covering 175 substations that have a need for greater flexibility within 2020/21. The company has also signposted ongoing needs to 2024/25.

These substations fall within 42 Constraint Management Zones, locations announced by the company last July and first used in its 2019 Procurement cycle 2, which was completed in Oct 2019.

WPD has now identified the zones requiring flexibility services within this, its fifth procurement cycle, and there will be an invitation to tender on 3 February for a deadline of 13 March. The procurement results are expected on 3 April.

There are multiple routes to market that flexibility providers will be able to use, including Piclo, the Cornwall Local Energy Market and WPD’s Flexible Power.

The company was the last DNO to partner Piclo, and entered into a commercial partnership to boost visibility of WPD's Flexible Power auction last July.

The Cornwall Local Energy Market's trading platform went live last November, enabling both National Grid ESO and WPD to simultaneously procure flexibility from the same platform.

WPD’s network strategy manager Ben Godfrey said: “Our fifth and largest procurement round delivers on our commitment to open our ED1 load related reinforcement requirements up to the market.

“The move to a decarbonised energy system is changing the way we plan and operate our network. Having flexibility in these areas is crucial in enabling enable us to optimise investment and respond quickly to uncertainty.”

The tender follows a similar procurement round by the company in July 2019, as WPD continues to push for increasing amounts of flexibility.

WPD’s Flexible Power has the largest amount of flexibility in contract, according to the company, with 123.1MW.

Flexibility is increasingly important to distribution network operators, due to the increased number of intermittent renewables on the system. Last year however, the UK’s flexibility came second to last in Europe in a study by the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology.

In November 2019, UK Power Networks set a tender for 170MW of flexibility requirements, across 115 areas on its network. At the time this was the largest ever, but WPDs now outstripes it.

As the energy mix continues to move towards more intermittent renewables these large flexibility tenders are likely to become increasingly common.

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